The Eye 10 Review
The Eye 10 should be part of every film-related course and qualification going - it's the perfect example of filmmakers completely misunderstanding what makes a good film. Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang came to this reviewers attention with 2002's 'The Eye' - a strong, supernatural thriller with Shyamalan leanings. This was quickly followed in 2004 by a second instalment that built on and twisted some of the first films ideas to build a concept that life and death are part of one big cycle.
Now, in 2005 we've got the third film; and what a mess it is with just tenuous and glancing links to the first two films. Four teenagers are visiting their friend in Thailand, passing the time by telling each other ghost stories and playing with black magic. When they decide to follow the instructions in an old Thai book that claims to be the key to seeing the dead they quickly unleash a series of events that leads to one of their group disappearing and another becoming a mental recluse.
Returning to Hong Kong, Teddy (Wilson Chen) and May (Kate Yeung) try to forget their misdemeanours, but the dead won't let them and they find themselves becoming drawn deeper and deeper into a mystical underworld where the dead roam. When put like that it sounds almost watchable, but unfortunately the Pang Brothers don't know what sort of film they're making. We're all expecting a horror, but if that's what it's supposed to be it's not very horrific. Instead we get a bit of teen angst, some misplaced comedy and not one scare over the slim 84 minute running time.
The first film took advantage of the fact we didn't really know anything of the world that 'The Eye' would introduce and with that film the Brothers built a solid and scary tale that only gave us brief glances of the dead amongst the living. The second film was far more twisted with death becoming life via childbirth - a concept that would never make it to a Hollywood horror. Here there's no subtlety - we don't get fleeting glances of the ghosts, instead they're in your face for most of the film and they have absolutely no impact whatsoever. In fact, the effect is akin to sitting on a ghost train - any jumps aren't as a result of being shocked or scared and most of the time you don't jump at all. In fact there's one moment where one of the 'ghosts' appears to be nothing more than an obviously hollow paper-mash sculpture.
We're also expected to find a basket ball scary, and I won't even go into the five minute 'robot dance' that takes place around the hour mark - it's just so woefully misplaced that I think the filmmakers fell asleep in the editing room and one of their interns spliced the sequence in for a joke. The clichés come thick and fast too - the 'Ring-esque' ghost movements, the Ouija board, the goddamn lift scene that appears to feature in every single Asian horror film and we've even got a freaky mystical old lady. It's almost like there was a tick-sheet of horror movie 'must haves' that had to be included. Even the cast aren't particularly likeable and are largely made up of screaming whinging twenty-somethings trying to be teenagers. The direction is patchy with the aforementioned 'humorous' sequences at complete odds with the rest of the film and the title sequence is of particular note seeing as it appears to be influence by some kind of 70's American television series. Oh, and apparently farts kill ghosts.
Unfortunately the DVD release isn't much better. We've got Cantonese (DD5.1 and DTS) and Mandarin soundtracks and Cantonese, Mandarin and English subtitles. All of the extras are subtitled where applicable.
Picture and Sound
The picture quality is variable - at times it's perfectly good, with nice colours and good depth while other times there is some nasty compression artefacting and aliasing. Quite why we've got such a disappointing and compression-effected transfer is anyone’s guess - it's a dual layer disc, the extras are limited and the film's running time is well under 90 minutes.
The sound fares a little better, in particular the DTS soundtrack is everything you should expect with nice and involving surround usage making the best out of a bad situation. There are some nice bassy jump moments and the music is suitably vibrant. The dialogue is clear and largely locked to the centre channel.
First the filler - 'The Story' is a one-line description of the film, exactly as printed on the back cover of the disc. 'The Ten Encounters' is a compilation of the 10 ways to see ghosts from the film and the theatrical trailer and cast and crew credits are exactly what they say on the tin.
The real meat of the extras comes in the form of a two-part making of documentary which is reasonably watchable but doesn't really get down to the crux of the matter; specifically what sort of film they were trying to make.
For non-fans of The Eye I'd say don't bother. There's nothing here worth watching and if you haven't seen the first film you'd be a fool to start with this. For fans it's nothing more than a curiosity in that it shows that the Pang Brothers haven't got a clue what made their first film a minor cult hit.
The DVD isn't anything special and certainly isn't a selling point of this release.